East Rockaway resident David Malcolm Shields Jr. died after a long battle with cancer on April 29. He was 77.
Shields was born in Newark, N.J., and raised in the seaside community of Highlands, N.J. He graduated from Atlantic Highlands High School in 1959, and soon after volunteered to join the U.S. Navy. He served on active duty for five years from 1959-64 in the Pacific, as an anti-submarine warfare technician in Patrol Squadron 46 — the Navy’s oldest Patrol Squadron — while the fleet was transitioning from P5M Martin Marlin seaplanes to P3A Lockheed Orion long-range bombers. After the military, he received his associate’s degree from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., and his bachelor’s degree from Queens College.
Shields worked most of his life for Marine Equipment and Services Company in Hoboken, and Bayonne, N.J., and Tidewater, Va., starting as a supervisor, later serving as vice president, then as the owner. The company was involved in high-pressure water cleaning services with contracts for the military and merchant marine fleets, as well as industry, hospitals and local government.
A lifelong volunteer, Shields served as a watcher for the U.S. Air Force Ground Observer Corp. during high school. He was a Boy Scout leader for more than 50 years, serving as scoutmaster of Troop 332 in East Rockaway for 20 years. During his tenure, he signed the applications for 53 Eagle Scouts. He also served on many district and council committees. He was a member of the Sagamore Service Troop and a brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow. He was awarded the St. George Emblem by the Catholic Church and the District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver Award by the Theodore Roosevelt Council Boy Scouts of America.
Shields was a Girl Scout leader for 15 years, serving mostly as a Cadette/Senior Girl Scout leader, and as the elected ELLM community delegate chairman and member of the Nassau County Girl Scout Board. In 1998, the American Legion selected Shields as the most outstanding scout leader in New York state. He was a member of St. Raymond Church, and served on various committees and as a minister.
In addition, Shields served the East Rockaway as co-chairman of the Village Youth Advisory Committee and on the By-Laws Committee of the Village Pride Party. He was a member of the Long Island Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, where he served for more than 10 years as chapter secretary and newsletter editor, and as the R.O.T.C. awards and Eagle Scout scholarship chairman. Shields was also a member of the Empire State Society.
Shields loved hiking historical trails. One of his biggest hobbies was electric trains, and he made sure all of his children had a set of trains to put under their Christmas tree. He was a coin collector. and his favorite hobby was being an amateur Genealogist. His direct roots trace back to New Jersey patriots Samuel Mundy and Abraham Roll during the American Revolution; Ann and Edward Fuller of the Mayflower; King Henry II of England and Charlemagne, through the lineage of the Rev. John Lathrop.
Shields is survived by his wife, Pamela Townsend, of Rockville Centre; his children, Peter Thomas (Denise), of East Rockaway, Katherine Elizabeth Steiger (Alfred), of Oceanside, Suzanne Marie Riola (Daniel) of Delran, N.J., Valerie Ellen Rairden (Christopher), of West Babylon, and Virginia Christine VanAuken (Clifton) of Syracuse, N.Y.; his grandchildren, Nicholas, Peter Thomas Jr., Brian, Tara Joy, James Nicholas, Cate Ryann, Evelyn Christine Sadie Olivia, Sydney Love, Jake Ryan and Isla; his sister, Mary Catherine Lundin, of Highlands, N.J.; his nephews Tom Lundin of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Mark David Lundin of Hawthorne, N.J., and Lundin’s daughter, Jade.
Visitation for Shields was at Donza Funeral Home on May 1 and 2. His funeral Mass was at St. Raymond’s on May 3. In lieu of flowers, the family requested contributions be made to the Theodore Roosevelt Council, BSA.